There’s more to hope than optimism. Parker reads Victoria Safford on what it really means to stand in the place where hard, joyful work makes our vision for change come alive.
On the perils of placing all our hope in a utopian future — and the real possibility for change that lies in our actions, here and now.
Be the first to try out our new On Being discovery tool for exploring hundreds of conversations in our archives! And, excellent writings on privilege, solitude, and productivity to accompany your listening.
Rather than focusing on what’s beyond the limits of ordinary experience, we might be better served focusing on what’s within.
Witnessing the faint smile of her dying mother, the daughter of Haitian-Creole parents reflects on why she’s been writing about death and grief ever since — and the cathartic edge of the Book of Revelation and C.S. Lewis.
The companionship of Thomas Merton; an inspiring faith in our nation’s potential; and the spiritual work of environmental care.
Life’s tragedies can make the road ahead seem like a barren vista. But our losses can also clear space for courageous new beginnings.
The twilight season of Advent reveals a quiet source of hope — in the rhythms of the earth and the instinctual embrace of darkness by our animal bodies.
In our pursuit of justice, we must cling to what illuminates the darkness and keep the pain and indignation that fuel us from hardening to hatred.
A Jewish rabbi and a Mormon bishop unite their voices in an invitation to unity, and remind us that our diversity in race, religion, and politics is what makes our nation great.
This moment forces us to face challenging questions about who we are as a nation, who we want to become, and how to get there.
Hope isn’t always soothing and soft. A pragmatic embrace of compassion, kindness, and truth-telling in the face of America’s rifts.
Leonard Cohen’s timeless lyrics are a beacon of hope for even the most broken among us. An expression of gratitude to our latest lost legend.
From the loss of Leonard Cohen and the victory of the Chicago Cubs, music and language inviting you to think differently about shelter, resilience, suffering, and harmony.
Our body politic suffers from deep wounds, seen and unseen, and all real. Wisdom gleaned from a beloved baseball team on resilience in the face of heartbreak, and the spirit of unity that will move us into a new age.
We look to the election with uncertainty, hope, and fear. But Paul Raushenbush imagines further, with an aspirational and haunting vision of what will be required of us afterward.
As the United Nations prepares for its 71st session, Mohammed Fairouz honors the courage of those who came before us to make bold vows and asks us to step beyond our cynicism to achieve our greatest aspirations.
In an anxiety-fueled society, how can we muster the courage to deal head-on with negative emotions? Sharon Salzberg counsels wise action in the face of fear, and mettle in the face of hopelessness.
Parker Palmer offers up a remedy for feeling adrift: embracing surprise, and taking on sense of reverence to mystery.
The tension we’re living through requires our sincerest attention, but we must also nurture our relationships with joy. Trent Gilliss offers hopeful words on fostering communities of humility and understanding, with love and laughter at their center.
Unitarian-Universalist law enforcement chaplain Kate Braestrup tells the story of a police woman who embodies the both/and of love and new life, and crime and death.
Maria Popova, creator and editor of Brain Pickings, speaks of the pratfalls and promise of knowledge-sharing in the digital age.
Researcher and scholar Brené Brown speaks of the value and power of adversity to give rise to the astonishing strength of which we are all capable.
Our corrective actions can have radiating effects, placing a burden on those who don’t deserve it. A moving revelation of the extended trauma of mass incarceration — farther reaching than we might imagine.
The violence in Lahore on Easter Sunday thrusts us once again into disbelief and mourning. Omid Safi on the necessity of the right response, and the resilient stories of love and neighborliness that often go unreported in the face of terror.
Born into a world of chaos and uncertainty, a millennial composer calls on his fellow generation to embrace the richness of this age and go berserk with gratitude.
The chaos of the world can challenge our belief in the inherent goodness of humanity. Omid Safi marvels at the strength of a 1960’s symbol in the form of a Parisian father teaching his son to overcome hatred with love and hope.
Parker Palmer pens an elegy to mark the anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s assassination — a balm for a hurting world.
Recent mass killings in Oregon and abroad inculcate a kind of fear that can be paralyzing. Through the lens of a Native American tale, Omid Safi refuses to feed those wolves and chooses to feed another wolf: love.
As the days grow shorter and the sun sinks lower, for some the internal darkness can become all too real. An Austin-based singer-songwriter shares a song of hope only gained from struggle.
When asked how long they’d been married, Aljosie Harding named their time together down to the minute. Omid Safi marvels at the unexpected and profound love that infuses our world at any stage of living — and it’s awe-inspiring power to provide hope in the face of grief.
For the world-weary, cynicism may feel safe. But, in our efforts toward self-protection, what might we be missing? A Millennial reflects on the doubt and distrust he sees in his generation, and suggests a courageous counterpoint: sincere and hopeful optimism.
From our gatherings in Louisville to the ekphrastic poetry for Yom HaShoah, a wealth of reading and exploring this week.
American optimism is often lauded as a virtue in today’s world. Omid Safi offers an alternative: hope.
Some of the best things of the week: on quiet nobility, thin places, the fist of fate, severed friendships, and Malcolm X.
Cynicism beckons to us with ease at times. But how do we remain open to the good within and around us? A reminder to keep hope alive when the demon inside us bites down. And, lyrical lines from Mary Oliver!
In a somber week, Omid Safi offers a powerful reminder to remember the humanity at stake in world news, Reza Aslan provides needed context, Parker Palmer reflects on the illuminating power of Thomas Merton’s words, a writer muses on our discomfort with death, and Courtney Martin pens a love letter to the shared silences that join us together.
Watch this cross-generational conversation at PopTech in which Courtney Martin and Parker Palmer contemplate the meaning of rebellion, and finding a balance between inner and outer lives and the simplicity that lies on the other side of complexity.
Lighting the candle on the seventh night of Hanukkah, a postcard on the vocabulary of hope and the interconnectedness of two peoples.
In a season filled with joy and angst, reflections on rethinking tradition, being a light for others, and wading through the giving conundrum. Plus, a map that will suck you in for hours, a reflection on the courage to hope in the face of despair, and a call to embrace others’ truths over being right.
Night five of our series. A poem inspired by a Harlem church experience by a secular Jew paired with a Septimus photo.
A tribute to the children and adults who died in the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School honored with a poem by Naomi Shihab Nye. A list we must return to and remember out of love and hope for a safer world.
With the decisions about the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, powerful words from a Holocaust survivor and essays dealing with grief and loss, systemic solutions, and polls that polarize.
From a virtuosic performance to an audio selfie and poems on abundance, a feast of ideas and passages for you to take into your week.
A daughter reflects on her ailing father and her right to petition God to deliver a World Series victory for their team.
What were your favorite blog posts of 2012? As we bid the year a fond farewell, a list of our readers’ favorites. Drum roll, please!
If there’s one thing the Japanese have mastered, it’s the art of fire and bathing. And these two men do…
“I am more scared than I’ve ever been — more scared than I was after Sept. 11.” —Eboo Patel A…
We remember our stories, the raw materials of the lives we’ve been given, in order to know who we are — and to tell something of the larger story of our time.